SPAIN'S Olympic Committee is campaigning hard for Mallorca-born tennis ace Rafa Nadal to be the country's flag carrier at the Rio de Janeiro games this summer.
Although suffering from a serious loss of form which has cost him a string of tournaments – a hangover from a succession of injuries in the last four years – Rafa 'has given so much to Spanish sports and society' that he should be 'rewarded' with the honour.
Alejandro Blanco, chairman of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) says the country 'owes' it to the former ATP world number one to let him fly his national flag in the Brazilian city.
Traditionally, the flag-bearer is the player with the best results at the last Olympics.
“But when we have a sportsperson like Rafa, who missed his chance to fly the flag last time, the Spanish sports community has to grant him this honour, and with a great deal of pride,” argues Blanco.
“Nadal had already been nominated as flag carrier for London 2012, then at the last minute he was unable to go because he was injured.
“There's only one sportsperson Spain really owes the honour of being flag-bearer to, and he's called Rafa Nadal.
“He has given our sports and society so much, he has been champion of everything and won an Olympic gold in Peking 2008, and this would be a way of rewarding him.”
The final decision will have to be made by the committee and announced in March.